Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Moving with minimum grief

From packing to kids, organizing for the big day is key

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For Adam Stuart and Courtney Tunnicliffe, moving into a new home means uprooting their nine-month-old son, Jeffrey. Arranging babysitting and packing up belongings without disturbing Jeffrey's routine will be important to the success of the family's move.

Kristel Pellow, owner of HassleFreeMove, is a professional organizer who specializes in pre- and post-move organization and says moving with children requires careful preparation.

But whatever your situation, she offers several tips to reduce the stress of moving.

1. Pack and purge early

Pre-packing can begin even before listing your home.

"Seasonal items are the easiest to pre-pack," Pellow says. "If it's summertime, you know you don't need your snowsuits and Christmas decorations."

Once you purchase your new home, purging items you know you won't need should come next.

"Perhaps the layout is different and you won't need the kitchen table and the dining room table," she says.

Of the items you will be moving to your new home, Pellow recommends holding off on packing until a couple of weeks before moving day.

"If you pack too soon, then you're wasting time by going through boxes and looking for things you need and repacking them."

2. One room at a time

Packing up a home full of years of accumulated stuff can seem daunting.

To make the task more manageable, take it one room at a time, Pellow says, sorting each room's contents into three piles: keep out, pack and donate/sell.

3. Packing options

There are lots of options when choosing packing boxes, says Chelsea Ball of Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving Co.

While most moving companies will rent or sell paper boxes, renting plastic bins from companies such as Frogbox is another option for eco-minded homeowners.

The plastic stackable bins can be ordered a couple of weeks before your move and are picked up after your move is finished.

You can also rent wardrobe boxes. A wardrobe box is a quick and easy way to pack and unpack your closet.

Simply hang your clothes in the box and unpack once at your new home. The movers will take the boxes away at the end of the move.

4. Involve your children

You may think sending the children to summer camp for a week while you pack up and purge their belongings is an efficient use of time, but Pellow advises parents to keep children involved.

"They might be a bit hesitant about the move, especially if they have to change schools, so if you can get them involved by choosing what toys they can keep out to play with during packing, they feel like they're in control of some aspect of the move," she says.

Although going through the packing process with children can cause emotional flare-ups, Pellow says hosting a garage sale can be a great way to generate excitement among school-age children about getting rid of toys they no longer use.

"It's a great incentive to not pack as much for the new home if they know they have the potential to make some money."

5. Children's moving box

Packing away belongings into boxes can be upsetting for a child, especially if they aren't excited about the prospect of moving.

To give them some sense of normalcy during the transition, give them an open moving box (labelled with their name), where they can store their favourite toys until the day of the move.

For Stuart, keeping a baby box full of Jeffrey's essential items, such as diapering and food supplies, will be key to keeping his life as normal as possible during the move. Baby furniture will be disassembled last.

"The crib and high chair will be the last items on the truck and the first items off," he says.

6. Hiring movers

Plan ahead to avoid unexpected charges, advises Ball.

"Some companies may charge extra for fuel or materials such as blankets to pad furniture." Ask for an all-inclusive rate, and to avoid moving surprises, be sure you know what's included in your moving quote before booking your move.

7. Label clearly

Labelling boxes can save time and energy at the other end of the move.

"People say, 'I'll remember what's in this box,' but realistically, when you get into the new house and there are 300 boxes, you won't remember," says Pellow.

Label boxes with the room name and its contents, for example: Green Bedroom, Desk Items.

Pellow even recommends labelling furniture.

"You may think it was perfectly clear that the couch should have been in the living room, but you find it in the basement. If you label (your furniture) with the room location, they have no reason not to put it there," Pellow says.

Labelling also saves time and money, since movers don't have to track you down to ask where you want something.

8. Forget the fluids

Avoid placing fluids on the moving truck, says Ball, who recommends transporting barbecue propane tanks, gas lawn mowers and cans of paint yourself.

"If there's anything leaking, it will leak out into the truck and will destroy your furniture," Ball warns.

9. Clear directions

Designate a person to whom movers can direct their questions, says Pellow.

Bringing all boxes into one central location of your old house and taking movers on a walk-through of the new home, giving directions on where you want key items, can reduce questions and make the move go more smoothly.


-- Postmedia Network Inc. 2013

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 21, 2013 F17

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